The Pedestrian in the Transportation System: Proposed Traffic Safety Legislation

Report No: 82-R27

Published in 1981

About the report:

The purposes of this project were to review and evaluate Virginia's traffic laws related to pedestrians, compare provisions of the Code of Virginia with those of the statutes of other states and the Uniform Vehicle Code, and, if appropriate, propose amendments, additions, or deletions to the Code of Virginia which would enhance safe walking in the Commonwealth. The study was carried out with the advice and assistance of an advisory panel composed of representatives of federal, state, and local governmental agencies, various organizations concerned with the promotion of safe walking as recreation or mobility, the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances, and the Tidewater Automobile Association of Virginia. Several general problem areas, in both the context of fatalities and injuries and the Code itself, were identified. The research revealed that there are more injuries to pedestrians in urban areas but more fatalities in rural areas, and that most of those killed and injured are over the age of 15. In addition, it was found that the three most dangerous situations for the pedestrian are crossing at locations other than an intersection, crossing at non-signalized intersections, and walking in the roadway in the direction of traffic. Also, while crashes involving pedestrians with visual handicaps do not constitute a large percentage of the total, they do warrant special attention. Finally, provisions of the state code are not sufficiently protective of the pedestrian's rights nor definitive of the pedestrian's duties to provide for a safe walking environment. A number of suggestions, for revisions to the Code are made to clarify the actions required of pedestrians and motorists at intersections, and pedestrians walking along the highway, crossing roadways at points other than intersections, working in the roadway or upon the highway, playing in the roadway, and responding to emergency, bridge, or railroad signals.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Charles B. Stoke, Charles L. Williams

Last updated: January 21, 2024

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